When I first received news that the next installment of the Summit Racing Series was on my birthday weekend, I thought to myself that "ooh! That sounds like a fun way to celebrate!" So, I signed up, early bird style!
Next time I decide to sign up for an evening race at the end of August in the North Carolina heat to celebrate without knowing what the course would be, someone kick me.
If anyone wants to ever do some challenging hill work, come to Davidson and sign up for a Helfrich Brother's Special. Then throw in high 80s/low 90s temps with close to 100% humidity just for kicks.
I've run half the course numerous times as it's in our group's route arsenal, but the second half was new to me. I had never been on that side of town, so I looked at it as an adventure. I didn't go into this race with any real strategy (not that I really do with any race!). I was using this as my long run for the week by adding a 2mile warm up and a 2mile cool down.
I knew the hills on the front half and decided that the hills on the second half were going to be just as bad if not worse. So, at the start, I decided to just take it easy. Starting at the mid to back of the pack, I was getting passed plenty! I looked over my shoulder and realized that I was close to bringing up the rear. It was so tempting to pick up the pace, but I knew I needed to play it safe in order to face the unknown, and was able to keep myself reigned in. There was still LOTS of race to go!
The first mile brought me to our first hill. It was one of many that I run week after week, and oddly I felt like it was my old comfort blanket! I was able to hold steady and as people tried to bite off more than they could chew, I picked them off, slowly but surely. I was feeling confident that I could hold a comfortable 9:15-9:20 pace through this part. And that was my first three miles. The next three brought me into the unknown. I was welcomed by a very nice down hill.....but where there is down, there is an up. Lots of ups. It was like I was in the belly of the earth and I had to climb my way out of hell! Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly, but folks, it seemed like a constant climb without much relief. Thank goodness for the spectators and the volunteers, and friendly familiar faces at one particular water stop (Randolph family, you were a sight for sore eyes!!!!). Two more hills, that's all needed to get through before the last .5 and the finish. On that last climb out, I looked at my watch and saw an alarming heart rate. Holy hell. I would expect to see that in a 5K running all out, but not now. I needed to get that down. So I brought it to a walk for what seemed like forever but I think it only lasted for about a minute? I saw it come down 20+ points, I smiled and said "Okay, now get your arse in gear and finish this thing out!" And so I did.
Somehow, I PR'd! It was a birthday miracle!
Old: 01:02:00 (September 2011)
I didn't shed that much time off, but on that course, in that heat? I'll take it!
And as a bonus, Jyl threw me a little birthday party with mini cupcakes and everything! Once I no longer felt like I was going to toss my cookies, I grabbed that little chocolate and peanut butter bundle of scrumptiousness and ran. Well, no. I just sat there and ate it, but I was really stealthy with the grab!
Thank you Jyl, Graham, Thomas and Lori for my birthday celebration! And Helfrich Brothers, though I'm cussing at you, it really was a great race, a great post-race party and thank you for hiring a band for my birthday :)